November 15, 2018

Saving the ocean: small acts, big rewards

By Paige Comeau,
Rory Anderson, Eliza Brooks and Avery Smith

Special to the Observer

Samuel Nelson, a middle-school teacher at Shelburne Community School, has done it again with one of his great social studies projects. Currently, he is wrapping up the school year with his sixth- and seventh-grade humanities classes by doing a community service project.

One of the sixth-grade classes is focusing on saving the ocean. Of course, it will be difficult for the class to change the world in one month, but they sure can make a small difference. That’s all it takes, everybody making a small change can help — believe it or not!

Everybody reducing trash from two full trash bags to one bag could cut the landfill in half! Sadly, there is a floating landfill island on the Pacific Ocean that is more than twice the size of Texas. If that’s the first you’ve heard of it, you’re not alone. Many people are dumbfounded by how bad this problem has gotten when nobody knew!

As of now, the Winton House sixth-grade social studies group is raising awareness about the way that the ocean is being treated. In the middle of March, Mr. Nelson started the sixth graders off on a unit about conservation by putting the word ‘conservation’ on the board, telling us to have a group conversation about it and taking notes.

After a few days of this routine, the sixth graders came up with the idea to raise awareness. By April 25 (after spring break was over), we the sixth graders split into groups. There was a communication group, a social media group, an overall planning group and an art group, whose task was to infuse art into the project.

What we the sixth graders are trying to do is spread awareness about the way the ocean is being treated and we need your help.

The ocean is one of earth’s largest homes for many kinds of fish and sea life, yet humans have been overfishing in the ocean for decades and have not seemed to care that species like the BlueFin Tuna could go extinct.

It has been proven that overfishing a certain kind of fish can cause other animals (predators) to starve, then those predators would starve, etc… Furthermore, some other species like dolphins, whales, manatees, sea turtles and sharks are endangered. These species may be going extinct because of all the trash in the ocean.

Each year, one person produces about 1,606 pounds of trash. The ocean is filled with 270,000 TONS of plastic trash – that is why there is an island of trash twice the size of Texas floating around the ocean.

Here is an action list we developed on ways you can make a change that could have some kind of impact on these problems.

Solutions to help the sea

Reduce your trash output, from two bags to one bag

Recycle more

Boycott certain businesses that sell Bluefin Tuna and other endangered fish.

The ocean is in trouble solely from human habits. It doesn’t have to be this way though. We are here to inform you that YOU can make change! YOU can save the fish! YOU can save the ocean! YOU can change the world!

If you have any questions, you can email paigecomeau@cssu.org, roryanderson@cssu.org elizabrooks@cssu.org, or averysmith@cssu.org

Editor’s note: This contribution for the Living Green section came from sixth-grade students at the Shelburne Community School.

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